Pop culture, comedy, and plain good eating: Host Alton Brown explores the origins of ingredients, decodes culinary customs and presents food and equipment trends. Punctuated by unusual interludes, simple preparations and unconventional discussions, he'll bring you food in its finest and funniest form.

Good Eats airs on the Food Network on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and 12 a.m., Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., 9:00 p.m. and 12 a.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. All times ET. is not known for its verbose or particularly useful textbites, so the above synopsis is roughly as descriptive of the experience of watching Good Eats as, say, a toothpick is reminiscent of a tree. You get a hint of the core material...but the scale is all wrong.

I watch Good Eats because it's freaking hilarious. Alton Brown is nothing short of a narrative and documentary genius, and his wildly pogoing style of mixing historical information (in mini-sketch format featuring himself in a variety of costumes) and contemporary nutritional information (dispensed by a range of food scientists, nutritionists, and representatives from the Center for Disease Control) makes for the most counter-intuitively cohesive half hour on television.

Unlike so many cooking shows, where the chef dazzles you with deft movements, perfectly measured guesstimates, and a presupposition that you, personally, are a gifted chef (and hence need no explanation for the word julienne),Good Eats' format features terse but informative explanations of what stuff to buy, how to make the bag of raw ingredients turn into food in several easy-to-follow steps, and things to keep in mind if you want to get a little more adventurous.

Another excellent element of Good Eats is the on-screen text which coincides with any recipe, foreign word, or pithy anecdote used to punctuate a technique or concept just demonstrated. The use of this text makes it very easy to copy ingredients, directions, or words to look up later in your dictionary.

The most amazing thing about this show is that it genuinely tempts you to go play in the kitchen and experiment. After an episode I usually find myself on the way to the store for ingredients and perhaps a new kitchen gadget so I, too, can make something as fascinating and tasty-looking as Alton Brown.

Ambiguity in previous sentence left as an exercise to the reader

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